Pitch Your Tent: Seasons

Best Camping Season

Most people associate camping with summer time. And, as the start of the school year is drawing nearer (The Queen Mother teaches 5th grade; she reports back on Monday!) I think a lot of people might be thinking that their camping for the year is over.

But that is far from true. Done properly, camping is easy in three seasons of the year and for those hearty souls, can even be done in winter!

No matter when you go camping, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper gear including sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and a tent! If you need help buying gear, you can find information about Buying a Sleeping Bag and Picking a Sleeping Pad. (Tents coming soon!)

Spring Camping

The grass is coming out, a few early wildflowers and blooming, the creeks are running with snowmelt. And there might even be snow on the north side of hills!

Advantages to Spring Camping:

  • Not many people are out in the spring, so you can enjoy the peace and solitude of nature.
  • Enjoy that early vegetation! Nothing is prettier than grass and flowers just starting to grow.
  • Animals are usually pretty active since they’ve “forgotten” the crush of people from the summer before.
  • No bugs!
  • The fishing is usually excellent.
  • Less likely to have fire restrictions.

Disadvantages to Spring Camping:

  • Many campgrounds don’t open until Memorial Day so services might be limited including water and trash service.
  • Mud! You have to be very careful where you drive so you don’t damage the soggy ground.
  • Cold nights and it might freeze. You’ll have to bring warmer clothes (more to pack) and it’ll take extra time to cook.

Summer Camping

It’s hot, supermarkets have displays of s’more fixings, the kids are out of school, and the campgrounds are just calling your name! Of course, they’re calling everybody else’s name too!

Advantages to Summer Camping:

  • Kids are out of school.
  • There’s a festive atmosphere at most campgrounds.
  • Campgrounds offer full services of a campground host, water, trash service, etc.
  • Campgrounds are less busy during the week.
  • Big Box stores are full of camping gear so it’s easy to purchase/upgrade new equipment. (Or if you forget something, they’ll have it on the shelf!)
  • It’s tradition!

Disadvantages to Summer Camping:

  • Campgrounds (and dispersed camping!) can be crowded, dusty, and noisy.
  • There might be fire restrictions in effect depending on rain fall.
  • It can be difficult to find a campsite on the weekends.
  • Summer means all manner of crawling things! Mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, bitemes, spiders, ants, etc.

Fall Camping

The leaves are turning, most people have headed back to the cities for school and work, the air is crisp. Fishing picks back up. It’s my favorite season to go camping!

Advantages to Fall Camping:

  • Campgrounds (if they’re open) won’t be crowded.
  • Fewer bugs.
  • The fishing is usually excellent.
  • Less likely to have fire restrictions.
  • Wildlife is very active.

Disadvantages to Fall Camping:

  • Campgrounds might be closed or have limited service.
  • Cool nights and it might freeze. You’ll have to bring warmer clothes (more to pack) and it’ll take extra time to cook.
  • Hunters are out so you’ll need to check hunting regulations in your area. It doesn’t mean you can’t go out and enjoy the Great Outdoors, but you might need to wear “hunter orange” or take other precautions.

Winter Camping

There’s no denying the bite in the air! Trees and shrubs have shed their leaves, the grass is brown, snow is in the air. Snowbirds are flocking south for the season.

Advantages to Winter Camping:

  • There are hardly any people.
  • Peace, solitude, and beautiful winter views abound.
  • You can head to warmer climates for camping and leave all those office folk their cities.
  • Not a bug in site!
  • Good for bird watching or viewing large game like deer and elk.

Disadvantages to Winter Camping:

  • Many public campgrounds will be closed and services will be extremely limited.
  • You will need to bring lots of extra gear to brave the colder weather.
  • If you’re heading south, you’ll have to deal with the snowbirds and retirees.
  • Winter camping (in the snow) requires a higher level of knowledge, skill, and expertise.
  • Wind, rain, snow and freezing temperatures so be prepared!

Personally? My favorite season for camping is the fall!

Readers Weigh In:

  • What is your favorite time of year to go camping?
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